Category Archives: Local U.

Quick Hit: DONE!

The Paper is finally, final-draft done.

Including the citations, it’s nearly 40 pages.  It’s printing as I write this.

I am proud of it; I think it’s well done and I expect that it will be positively received by my professor.

I’m looking forward to a little down-brain time.

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Filed under about writing, Local U., Mrs. Chili as Student

First Draft Friday

I love alliteration!

SO!  The first draft of The Paper is done!  It clocks in at 22 pages (plus 5 pages of sources), the conclusion is pathetic, and I still have to go back through and cite some sections, but it is a complete draft.

Who wants to read it?  Email me at mrschili at comcast dot net and I’ll send you a copy.  Be forewarned; I want good, constructive feedback on this bad boy; if you’re going to read this (and I’ll be very grateful if you do), I’m going to ask that you be clear and specific about what I need to do to make it better.

My goal is to have it in front of my professor in second-draft form sometime early to mid next week (I’m aiming for Wednesday, but since she hasn’t given me a deadline, I’ve got some flexibility).  The final is due on the 15th (my deadline, not hers; I think she gave me through the 18th, but I’d rather put it to bed sooner rather than later).

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Filed under about writing, analysis, colleagues, composition, critical thinking, doing my own homework, GLBTQ issues, Local U., Mrs. Chili as Student, politics, self-analysis, writing

I… I Just… I Have No Words

I received this email from a student in the class I’m taking.  I present it to you completely unedited:

yeahh i can deff meet up this thursday after 6 if that works for everyone else so we can just get it done?? and lets come prepared with facts and current events. I have already started doing some thing but not a whole lot. Also i do not have the current version of ferg so i only have stuff from ore on our topic so bring that book if any of you guys have it!!

Please bear in mind when reading this that this young woman is a SENIOR IN COLLEGE.  Let that sink in for a second; she’s a SENIOR.  It kind of makes one wonder how she managed to get that far, doesn’t it?  It also makes me wonder where she expects to go from here.

I am both sorry for the professor (who’s going to have to read this girl’s paper and many, many like it) and SO glad that I’m taking the class as an independent study.

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Filed under about writing, bad grammar, concerns, dumbassery, failure, frustrations, I can't make this shit up..., Local U., Mrs. Chili as Student, really?!, Yikes!, You're kidding...right?

Quick Hit: Going it Alone

I had a conversation with my professor this afternoon, and we decided that it would probably be best for me to take this class as an independent study.

The distance between me and my classmates in terms of age, life experience, and general knowledge is so great that I won’t be getting anything useful out of the course.  I’ve got at least 20 years on all of them, I’m the only one who’s worked, I’m the only one who’s married or has children (and, not for nothing, I’m the only one (at least in my reading group) who has half a frickin’ clue about what’s going on in the class.  Oh, and I also seem to be the only one who can get through a sentence without saying “like” 17 times.  I’m not kidding.)  At one point during the last class meeting, one of my reading group said, “WOW!  We’re, like, so lucky to, like, have you in OUR group!  Your explanations are, like, really, really good!”  And, yes; that’s a direct quote.  I’m really not interested in a) teaching the class to my small group-mates or b) being used as the “smart kid” for all the group work (and there’s a lot of it).  Getting out of the class and working on my own is definitely a priority for me.

The professor usually sets graduate students working together, but since I’m the only graduate student taking this class, she suggested to me that we can work out a course of study where I put together a graduate-level plan for the course material and work independently.  Guess what I’ll be doing this weekend?

I think it’s a capital idea.  I was starting to get really worried about what I was going to do for another 12 weeks in that environment.

Watch this space.

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Filed under concerns, failure, frustrations, I can't make this shit up..., Local U., Mrs. Chili as Student, really?!, Yikes!

The Nerve *Edited*

Sometimes, though not terribly often, I’m stunned by the audacity of some of my students.  I see a real disconnect between their perception of their performance and the reality, and here’s yet another shining example (I only edited to change his name and any identifying references):

Hello Professor

I was just wondering if the grade posted on blackboard is the final grade? It says I received a D, however when I add up all the grades that I received, even putting in worst possible case for the letter grades posted ie. 80 for a b-.  Also, it says I received an ” – ” for my personal narrative, but I have the paper right in front of me and you gave me an A on it writing “Louis, This is a good paper. you do a nice job of the “before and after” and though there are a few places I’d encourage you to trim and tighten, those aren’t enough to detract from your message A”  I then added up all the grades that you posted and I got 960/1162 which is about an 83% then I added a 95 which is about an A for the personal narrative and It comes out to be 1053/1162 which is about an 91%.  I don’t understand why I have a D? the whole reason I took this class again was because I received a D or D+ freshmen year. Retaking this class and getting a B is, quite frankly, embarrassing.  I understand that the English department has a 3 absent rule.  And to get a D from a A- I would have to skip a total of 11 classes and I don’t believe I did.  On the chance that I am wrong, I was very sick for a lot of this semester for some reason and I’m not saying it’s right, but I have already taken this class.  I have gone through most of this material before and it isn’t like I skipped the home work.  Yes I truly am sorry that I handed home work in late, but due to the power outage it put me a week behind and with intro to chemical engineering I was backed up with a copious amount of work and stress.  I know I have to prioritize my work and not make reasons for why things happen and take responsibility for these mishaps, but there are reasons for everything and that’s why things happen.  I’m a Junior in college already working my butt off with everything, just wishing I worked harder my freshmen year so that my GPA didn’t prevent me from getting into [LU's school of business].  I need a 2.9 in the class and I was kicked out of business stats because one of my credits from [LU's satellite school] did not transfer as the pre req that I needed.  I had to take the pre req this sem and if I get a B+ in english and a B+ in econ and hopefully a C in intro to chem engineering I will still be short with a 2.89.  I’m very stressed about everything because I already know I’m going to graduate late unless I do a full semester during the summer and Jterms, which I can’t because I need to get internships in for money and work experience because getting a job in this economy is super super hard from what I have heard.

My Apologies,
Louis Chandler

P.S. I know this sounds kiss ass, but i really thought your english class was a lot more fun than mine freshmen year.  I had a three hour lecture once a week and it was just so dry.  Your class was much more entertaining and I got a lot more out of it than my freshmen english class. so thank you

I swear to God, you guys; I can’t make this shit up.

Edited to include:  Here’s my response to Louis:

Louis, you were correct in that I missed updating your personal narrative grade.  I did that, and the result was that your grade increased to a C-.  Given the number of classes you missed and the number of assignments you turned in late, that is an entirely appropriate grade.
-Mrs. Chili

To which he replied:

Fair enough, I’m guessing there’s nothing I can do to change my grade now.
Louis

And then followed up with THIS gem:

I’m also just was wondering from someone who is around colleges all their life. What’s the point of putting all this stress upon myself? Why do I go into debt just to be able to get a job to get myself out of it?

A Curious Student,
Louis

I’m not planning on responding to this last bit….

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Filed under dumbassery, failure, frustrations, I can't make this shit up..., Local U., really?!, student chutzpah, That's your EXCUSE?!, Yikes!, You're kidding...right?

Wishing Time Away

All my adult life, I’ve never been one to wish time away.  I try to be ever present in the moment and to engage as fully in the now as I can, because I understand that time goes by too quickly as it is, and wishing it away means I’m not paying attention to where I am and what I’m experiencing.

I’ve got to tell you, though, that I’m jonesing for December like nobody’s business.

My Local U freshman writing class is KILLING me this year.  This is, without exaggeration, the sorriest group of kids I’ve ever encountered.

I mean it; it’s like a room of dead fish in there Monday and Wednesday nights.  I’m energetic, I’m excited, I’m performing for them, and they’re sitting there, mouths slightly ajar, staring at me with vacant eyes and listless expressions.  They seem to think that every question I ask is rhetorical and I have to actually CALL on kids to answer me – though half the time, they don’t have an answer; it’s as if they never heard the question.  Even when I played a game with them, they were dull and disengaged.

My only consolation is that I’m not the only one having this problem.  I’m engaged in correspondence with my office mate (we have vastly different schedules, so we communicate with notes left on the desk in our teensy-tiny “office”), and she told me that ALL freshman adjuncts that she’s spoken to have been having the damndest time trying to infuse some life into their classes.  My misery is loving her company; I was worried that it was just me.

I’m at wits’ end with this class, and I find myself not only dreading Mondays and Wednesdays, but feeling stressed and anxious the rest of the week, too.  The class is over December 7th, and I’m literally counting the days until I don’t have to worry about this anymore.

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Filed under colleagues, concerns, failure, frustrations, General Griping, Local U., really?!

Professor Chili

I got an email from the head of the freshman writing program this morning.  He wants me to come back to Local U. to teach next fall!

image credit

Frankly, I’m more than a little surprised.  I mean, I absolutely believed my boss when he assured me, after telling me he couldn’t hire me last year, that he’d keep me on his list; that’s not the surprising part.  What’s really got me stumped is that our state is in the process of eviscerating funding for the university system.  Really.  Every single department in the University is under both hiring and salary freezes.  Mr. Chili is concerned that the group for whom he works, which has been operating in cooperation with the University, may now consider breaking off and founding an independent institute.  My girlfriend, who works for the business school, is actually doing two jobs because the school hasn’t hired someone to replace her partner, who had to leave due to medical issues two months ago.  It’s bad out there, and I strongly suspected that this would mean both a reduction in the number of freshman writing sections being offered and a far lesser likelihood of my being invited back to teach.

Not so, it seems!  I’ll be heading up a Monday-Wednesday evening section of freshman composition, and I’m really looking forward to it.  I’ve missed being at LU’s English building, and I’m very much looking forward to being back.

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Filed under about writing, colleagues, composition, I love my boss, I love my job, Local U., success!, Teaching, The Job

Wednesday WTF

So, here’s what happened.

I decided to take my juniors and seniors to Local U. to take advantage of the really great library presentation they offer there.  Every semester, I take my freshman writing class to the library where a reference librarian gives them the “this is what you need to do to get all kinds of great, reliable, peer-reviewed resources for your papers” in a practical, usable format.  When I called the library on Monday (and talked to David, my favorite guy over there), they told me they’d be more than happy to host my CHS kids, too, and that, because it’s spring break at L.U., we’d have pretty much unimpeded access to the computers, to boot!

“Great!”  I thought, “Let’s go!”  So, I pulled up the bus schedule (because CHS has no access to school buses) and found out how to get there and back, printed out permission forms, and planned today around taking the kids out into the world.

Except we didn’t get far.  Because the university is on spring break, the bus is running on a curtailed schedule.

I managed to miss that vital piece of information on the website.  As a consequence, I and 14 of my students were standing at the bus stop waiting for a ride that never came.

We’re going to try again tomorrow.

Sigh.

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Filed under dumbassery, failure, frustrations, I can't make this shit up..., Local U., You're kidding...right?

Ten Things Tuesday

Work-related randomness!

1.  I’ve had a TON of things to write about over here, but I’ve just not found the time to do it.  I’ll try to get here a bit more regularly; things are happening – exciting things, even – that I want to let you all in on!

2.  I was practically eager to get back to work after the holiday break.  I found that I missed my students and the things that we do together.  I was delighted to go back to work on Monday, and it was fun to hear all their stories about things that happened to them during our vacation.

3.  Knowing full well that this week would essentially be a wash (while the kids got used to getting back into a regular schedule and, you know, thinking), I planned a pretty “easy” week.  My I/II kids are working on getting ready to participate in our local Poetry Out Loud competition (which is happening Monday) and my III/IV kids are going to do a month-long investigation of film as literature.  We started with the Cinderella story this week; they read several versions of the story and we started watching Ever After today.  They’ll see The Karate Kid on Thursday while I’m away at a workshop.

4.  Speaking of the Poetry Out Loud competition, I brought a guest speaker to school this morning.  One of my former students is neck-deep in the slam poetry scene in our area, and he practically JUMPED at the chance to come to school to perform for and talk to my class.  I invited my colleague’s class to join us, and all the kids were enthralled for the whole hour and a half that Beau talked to them.  He delighted me as a student when I had him in my first semester at TCC, and I’m incredibly proud of him now.  He’s poised, articulate, creative and, well, just awesome, and I’m so glad he agreed to come to school today.  He’s totally going on my guest speaker list; we’ll do this again the very next chance I get.

5.  I’m terribly excited about the Film as Literature unit I’m doing with my III/IV kids.  I’m looking forward to seeing some really great films (Amistad, Secondhand Lions, Nuremberg, Ever After, The Karate Kid, I, Robot, and possibly Timeline) with these kids.  We’ve spent all semester practicing critical thinking skills; I’m eager to see how well they can apply those skills to their viewing practices, as well.

6.  I’m going to three professional development workshops being held at Local U this week and into next.  It means I’m going to miss three days of classes at CHS, but it’s going to be totally worth it; my colleague will take my I/II kids into her class (we’re all working on literally the same thing, anyway) and my III/IV kids will be viewing movies and working independently for the time I’ll be away taking more than nine hours of FREE professional development workshops.  One does not say “no” to free professional development hours, especially when the workshops are interesting and relevant to one’s practice.  Plus, they’re feeding me lunch!  Score!

7.  I still don’t know what I’m going to be teaching at CHS next semester (which starts February 1st).  I know I’ll be teaching something, but exactly what is still a mystery.  It turns out that the school did not get a grant that we’d applied for a month or so ago, which means that my director is going to have to scramble to make the money work.  I don’t really care what she pays me; I just want to teach.

8.  Being a teacher is sometimes (okay, quite often) awesome.  I just bought 6 brand new books for $3 each through a publishing company that wants us to buy our books from them.  They sell exam copies to teachers in the hopes that we’ll find something we like and place a bulk order.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they hear from me again sometime very soon.

9.  Two separate people gave me posters for my classroom for Christmas.  I will buy frames for them (because I think taping posters to the wall is tacky, and I know I can get poster frames for 5 bucks each at the Christmas Tree Shops), but I’ll have to wait a bit before I can hang them; I still don’t have my own room.  My dearest wish is that, by the start of the next school year, I’ll have a space that’s just mine.  While I don’t mind sharing my space with others (in fact, they’re sharing their spaces with me), I really do want a room of my own.

10.  I discovered, just recently, that my style of teaching has a name (who knew!?  Not I!).  What I really want for my new classroom (when I get it) is a big oval table that we can all sit at as a class.  The scheme we’ve got now is that small groups sit at separate tables, and while I CAN make that work, it’s hard to keep everyone focused on the group as a whole.  Anyway, I’m going to be putting out the call to those of my friends and colleagues who have a knack for getting good stuff cheap (or free – free is good!) to see if anyone can score me a big ole dining room table big enough to seat 12-14 people.  I have NO idea how I’m going to get it up to the fourth floor (or through my classroom door, for that matter) but I’ll worry about that when I get there.  What I know for sure is that I definitely want to figure a way to get my classroom more together than I can manage if everyone’s sitting at separate tables.

Happy Tuesday, Everyone!

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Filed under colleagues, critical thinking, film as literature, fun, I love my job, little bits of nothingness, Local U., Poetry, self-analysis, Teaching, ten things Tuesday

DONE!!

I just hit “submit” on the final grades for my Local U. class!  WOOT!  Another semester in the can.

I’m so relieved.

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Filed under Local U., success!, Teaching